Attorney Dana Gentry disbarred in Georgia

High court cites several violations in divorce cases

jmustian@ledger-enquirer.comOctober 15, 2012 

Dana Posey Gentry, the Phenix City attorney accused of swindling several of his clients, has been disbarred in the state of Georgia.

A Supreme Court order made public this morning accuses Gentry of running afoul of several rules of professional conduct, echoing a pattern of behavior that landed him in legal hot water in Alabama more than a year ago. He faces several counts of theft in Alabama and a number of lawsuits from former clients who claim he pocketed their settlement money.

Gentry's troubles in Georgia centered around three divorce cases in which he failed to file appropriate court documents, "did not respond to his clients' attempts to contact him, failed to communicate with his clients, failed to appear in court, and withdrew from a case without notifying his client," according to the Supreme Court order.

One client hired Gentry and paid him $2,150 to take action against his ex-wife for violating the terms of a divorce decree. Without allowing the client to review it, Gentry filed a petition that was rife with false statements. A hearing was later set on the matter.

Gentry, 40, had been suspended from practice in Alabama about that time and told his client's sister that he wouldn't appear for the hearing, even though he was still licensed to practice in Georgia.

"Gentry did not appear and, as a result of the hearing, the client’s children were returned to their mother in Louisiana," the Supreme Court order reads. "Gentry’s actions caused the children’s lives to be severely disrupted."

In a separate case, Gentry was paid more than $2,200 to represent a client in a divorce but, after filing a complaint, failed to return his client's numerous calls.

"Gentry later filed a notice of withdrawal from the case, but did not send a copy to the client," the order states. "Gentry did not respond to his client’s written request for a refund, and when the client went to Gentry’s office, he found it closed." The client later learned from the clerk of court that Gentry had withdrawn from the case.

According to the Supreme Court, Gentry failed to respond to his impending bar discipline, and therefore waived his right to an evidentiary hearing. The high court noted six rules of professional conduct Gentry violated.

Gentry's legal troubles began in September 2011 when he was arrested for unlawful possession of a forged instrument and criminal simulation. Those charges stemmed from a civil case in which he allegedly gave his clients a forged court order showing they were awarded $60,000 more in damages than they actually were.

He's been arrested on multiple theft charges since then, cases that remain pending in Lee County Circuit Court. Gentry's license remains suspended in Alabama, said Tony McLain, the bar's general counsel.

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